Breaking Bad: Why Gus Fring Killed Victor Instead Of Jesse

The reason why Gus killed Victor instead of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) at the beginning of Breaking Bad season 4 reveals much about what goes on in the head of the Breaking Bad villain. Victor (Jeremiah Bitsui) served as Gustav Fring's (Giancarlo Esposito) henchman when the character made his series debut in Breaking Bad season 2. Like Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), Victor was a violent enforcer of Gus' drug empire and made sure everything went smoothly for his boss. Coincidentally, the man he worked for ended up slitting his throat in of the most brutal scenes in the entire Breaking Bad timeline.


As revealed in the prequel series, Better Call Saul, Victor worked for Gus long before the events of Breaking Bad. By season 3, Victor watched over the meth superlab where Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse worked as part of Gus' operation. When Gale Boetticher (David Costabile), another chemist, was introduced into the fold, Walt worried that he would be killed and replaced with the newcomer. Walt devised a plan to kill Gale, making him the sole person to lead the meth-cooking, but Jesse wound up doing the dirty work. Jesse shot and killed Gale at his apartment before Victor arrived to stop him.

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In the Breaking Bad season 4 premiere, "Box Cutter," Walt and Jesse were held hostage so that Gus could punish them for their actions. While waiting for Gus to arrive at the lab, Victor cooked his own batch of meth to prove that he studied Walter White's meth formula. Rather than target Walt and Jesse, Gus entered and cut Victor's throat with a box cutter before telling his employees to get back to work. The druglord was unhappy with the fact that Victor was spotted at the scene of Gale's murder by neighbors, essentially putting the entire operation at risk. Ultimately, however, why Gus killed Victor, his longtime ally, also held a deeper meaning.

Gus Sent A Message To Walt & Jesse By Killing Victor

Split image of Jesse, Victor and Gus in Breaking Bad season 4

Although Gus didn't directly threaten Walt or Jesse following Victor's murder, he no longer had to. The real reason why Gus killed Victor in such a brutal fashion is because it sends a crystal clear message to the two men. If they put the operation at risk then Gus wouldn't hesitate in killing either one of them as well. Though Jesse was the one to pull the trigger and kill Gale, who was once the infamous Heisenberg's trusted assistant, Victor clumsily and needlessly allowed himself to be connected to the murder. Gus' decision to kill his old ally was justified in his mind when he saw a composite sketch of Victor hanging in a police station later that season.


Others may have learned to cook meth at potentially the same level as Walt and Jesse, but Gus was well aware that they had the highest quality of the product. This is another reason Gus killed Victor instead of Jesse: Walt and Jesse's partnership made them critical to the operation in Gustav's eyes. In Breaking Bad season 5, Victor's death was mentioned by Walt while talking to Jesse. He stated that Gus killed Victor because he "flew too close to the sun" and that greediness caught Gus' attention. In hindsight, Gus probably should have put more thought into taking Walt and Jesse out of the equation.

Gus' Arturo Killing In Better Call Saul Shows A Consistent Approach To Murder

Nacho better call saul breaking bad

In Better Call Saul season 4, the spinoff dives deeper into Breaking Bad territory through certain reveals, including how Gustav Fring has always used murder to control people he would rather keep alive. Back in Better Call Saul season 3, Nacho plots to take over Hector's position in the Salamanca drug operation by switching Hector's medication with fake placebo capsules, causing Hector to have a stroke. Though the cartel bosses assign Nacho and Arturo to replace Hector, Gus gets Victor to follow and investigate the two. In Better Call Saul season 4, episode 2 "Breathe," Gus confirms that Nacho is responsible for Hector's stroke. When Nacho and Arturo strong-arm their way into getting more drugs than they were supposed to from Gus' facility, Gus ambushes them and suffocates and kills Arturo with a plastic bag.

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While Victor and Tyrus make Arturo's death look like a gang killing, Gus informs Nacho that he is aware of how Nacho put Hector Salamanca in a wheelchair, but that the Salamancas do not. Similar to why Gus killed Victor in Breaking Bad, Gus killed Arturo in Better Call Saul to exert full control over Nacho, who's more useful to him alive. Better Call Saul's insight into Gustav Fring paints a truly horrific figure - one who eerily kills not just as a form of punishment, but as a threat of punishments yet to come. Moreover, Gus telling Nacho that Hector wasn't supposed to die yet reveals how much thought Gus has put into his long-term plans. In the end, it took a genius like Walter White for someone to finally outsmart Gus in Breaking Bad. Yet, as Better Call Saul reveals, not even Gustav Fring's death can stop audiences from wanting more of Giancarlo Esposito's iconic villain.